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IL: AT$T Lobbies House to Remove Local Control

By saveaccess
Created 03/31/2007 - 9:50am

Note: For over a year, Geneva, a small Illinois town of 19,000, has been fighting a pitched battle against the 240 billion dollar AT&T.

AT&T Lobbies Illinois House to Remove Local Control.


AT&T has launched a bill at the State House level to remove local franchise control from municipalities (a power Geneva currently holds) and instead give power over Geneva's Rights of Way directly to the State of Illinois. Most important to Geneva citizens, if passed, this bill would remove full citywide buildout requirements from AT&T - something cable companies must currently do - and allow them to serve parts of Geneva that they found most profitable, and not serve others they did not.

(Sidebar: What is particularly odd about this action is that AT&T insists its product is an IP service and not cable, and therefore, not subject to local cable franchising. If that is the case, why are they pushing a statewide cable franchise bill?)

Perhaps even more frightening is that the bill, in its current form, appears to grant eminent domain powers to AT&T for not only Geneva's Rights of Way, but private property as well.

If this bill passes in its current form, your front yard could end up looking something like this.


Geneva Building Commissioner Chuck Lencioni is 5'7"


Geneva City Planner Don Bastian is 5'11"

Or for specifics on the cabinets AT&T has used in its Project Lightspeed deployments elsewhere, see [3]

From Pages 32 & 33 of the bill:

9 (2) Any area in this State in which the Commission has
10 granted a cable service or video service authorization pursuant
11 to this Article, no property owner, condominium association,
12 managing agent, lessee, or other person in possession and
13 control of any improved or unimproved real estate located
14 within such area shall forbid or prevent the holder of a
15 State-issued authorization from entering upon that real estate
16 for the purpose of and in connection with the construction or
17 installation of that cable service or video service facilities,
18 nor shall any such property owner, condominium association,
19 managing agent, lessee, or other person in possession or
20 control of that real estate forbid or prevent the holder of a
21 State-issued authorization from constructing or installing
22 upon, beneath, or over the real estate, including any buildings
23 or other structures located thereon, hardware, cable, fiber,
24 equipment, materials, or other cable service or video service
25 facilities used by the holder of a State-issued authorization
26 in the construction and installation of those cable service or

HB1500 - 33 - LRB095 09362 MJR 31669 b

1 video service facilities; provided, however, that the owner of
2 any such real estate may require, in exchange and as
3 compensation for permitting the construction or installation
4 of cable service or video service facilities upon, beneath, or
5 over such real estate, the payment of just compensation by the
6 holder of a State-issued authorization which provides that
7 cable service or video service, that sum to be determined in
8 accordance with the provisions of subsections (3) and (4) of
9 this Section, and provided further that the holder of a
10 State-issued authorization constructing or installing those
11 cable service or video service facilities shall agree to
12 indemnify the owner of the real estate for any damage caused by
13 the installation, operation, or removal of the cable service or
14 video service facilities and service.

On March 6, 2007, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus released a letter of opposition and concerns. That position paper can be viewed at [4].

The Illinois Municipal League also has information on their website at [5] .

Three hearings on the matter took place at the State Capitol in Springfield, IL on March 8, March 15, and March 22, 2007.

An audio file of most of the March 8 hearing can be listened to here [6] or viewed in text format here. [7]

An audio file of the March 15 hearing can be listened to here [8].

An audio file of the March 22 hearing will be posted in the near future.

Video of a press conference held by the City of Naperville, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, the Illinois Municipal League, and CANTV on March 22 following the Telecommunications Committee hearing can be viewed at [9] or [10] (Thanks to CANTV.ORG for this video.)

No further hearings of the Telecommunications Committee on this bill are currently scheduled. Actual text of the bill and the latest information regarding hearing notices can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website here. [11] Please make sure to check their website for current information if you plan to attend any future hearings that may come up.

The City of Geneva is part of a coalition called KeepUsConnected [12] that is fighting this bill and encourages citizens to join as well.

Geneva also urges you to contact your state representatives by clicking here [13] and ask them to oppose HB 1500.

See our past history with AT&T and their proposed Project Lightspeed offering here. [14]

Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to address them via email to Mayor Burns or your Aldermen [15] or by calling Geneva City Hall at 630.232.7494.

Thank you for your interest.


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